I can go from optimistic and sunny to anxious and distracted when one thing is reduced in my day - sleep.
Sleep is truly the one thing that makes everything better, easier, clearer, yet we sacrifice it for other parts of our lives over and over. It's proven to make us more successful, efficient and happier.
A piece of research I conducted at ANU showed that people cut down sleep to the minimum required to function (not thrive) and routinely 'trade' sleep for time to themselves and to relax at night.
The thing is, it's an ongoing cycle.
The less sleep you get, the more time you need to wind down and relax - the more 'me' time you need because you are zoned out, unfocused, flat and fatigued.
So what is stopping you from sleeping enough, not to survive, but to really thrive?
Regardless of whether getting more sleep is mostly in your control or not, there is plenty you can do. Firstly, let's look at what is within our control.
Factors (largely) outside your control
Let's kick off with the things we can't control. I'm talking puppies, young children, varying work shifts.
All I can say about these factors is that you have to get more sleep when you can - whenever you can.
This is rich, coming from someone who didn't sleep when people came over to look after my baby daughter because I wanted to chat - BUT - you live and you learn.
Sleep is actually the base need. Everything will go better with more sleep.
You will make better parenting decisions and enjoy it more.
You will enjoy your puppy more.
You will enjoy your whole life more in the case of varying shifts.
Factors within our control
Here's a shout out to the people on their phones til midnight even though they came home wrecked.
To the peeps doing work on their laptops at night when the work can wait.
To the ones binge watching a new series when they hate themselves the next day.
Sleep decisions are within our control when we have choice over when we go to bed and can sleep through the night (insomnia is another beast again - to be addressed in another column).
If sleep choices are within our control...
Why aren't you choosing sleep?
It could be because what you want to do gives more immediate pleasure than sleep does - the old pleasure now, pain later way we choose (that always works!).
It might also be because of what you are thinking.
So tell me, why do you 'need' to stay up late at night or not go to bed early?
Write down three reasons why. Go on, actually grab a pen and think about it.
What is at the heart of your reasoning?
What are you avoiding?
What aren't you prioritising?
What is really stopping you from getting enough sleep to feel great and enjoy the success associated with that improved level of functioning?
Sleep is a critical way to get more energy at work, but it isn't the only way - I'm giving you all a free webinar - How to get more energy at work - this Monday night. Register here and you'll also get the replay.
To true recovery and success!